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Lesbian basketball players sue Pepperdine and coach over gay discrimination

Pepperdine Univ. basketball players Layana White and Haley Videckis, a gay couple, are suing the school and coach over anti-LGBT bias. Coach Ryan Weisenberg allegedly said, "Lesbianism is not tolerated on this team."

Layana White transferred from Arizona to Pepperdine to play basketball.
Layana White transferred from Arizona to Pepperdine to play basketball.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Two Pepperdine Univ. women's basketball players are suing their head coach and the university for alleged civil rights violations regarding their sexual orientation. Haley Videckis and Layana White claim they were harassed for being in a relationship with one another and the mental anguish ultimately led to a suicide attempt by White. Pepperdine is a religious private school that allegedly receives some public funding.

From Courthouse News:

Haley Videckis and Layana White sued Ryan Weisenberg, also known as Coach Ryan, and Pepperdine University for violating their civil right to privacy, as well as violations of California education code and Title IX of the federal Education Amendments Act of 1972 - which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities.

Pepperdine University maintains ties to the Churches of Christ, but claims on its website to represent many religious backgrounds and students of all races and faiths. The institution says its purpose is to pursue the highest academic standards "within the context that celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith."

Videckis and White say in their complaint that the Bible-based university is willing to admit lesbian students but states it will expel them if the students engage in the sin of premarital sex.

White played at the Univ. of Arizona before transferring to Pepperdine to play basketball there. Videckis is a transfer from Arizona State.

The complaint also alleges that coach Weisenberg said, "Lesbianism is not tolerated on this team. Lesbianism is a big concern in women's basketball."

The school has removed the athletic department's Web site pages of the two players. Pepperdine released this statement to TMZ over the weekend:

We take allegations of this kind very seriously. We conducted an immediate and thorough investigation and found no evidence to support these claims. The University remains committed to a diverse and inclusive environment.

There is a long history of LGBT discrimination by "Christian" schools, including action against athletes and coaches. Maybe most famously, Belmont Univ. fired women's soccer coach Lisa Howe for being a lesbian when she informed the school she was having a child with her partner.

Check out more at AfterEllen.